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UAL Research Online

Borrowed materials: designing textiles for a closed-loop polyester economy

Goldsworthy, Kate (2010) Borrowed materials: designing textiles for a closed-loop polyester economy. In: Lens Conference: Sustainability in Design NOW!, 29/09/10 – 01/10/10., Bangalore, India. (Unpublished)

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: Goldsworthy, Kate


In order to design for closed-loop (cradle to cradle) systems where waste materials can become inputs for new production, the textile industry needs new tools and processes with which to create fully or truly recyclable products.

However, rather than being cyclical and self-perpetuating, the current means of textile production are linear and one-way. Finishing processes often mix materials from different ‘metabolisms’ creating complex hybrids that are irreversible. With this ever-increasing demand for performance and functionality, it is the design of these products that prevents them from being effectively recycled and leaves us with a legacy of waste (Allwood et al, 2006).

This practice based research project set out to explore innovative technologies that afford new opportunities for textile finishing, with a particular focus on the recyclability of synthetic thermoplastics. Polyester, the most common textile synthetic fibre, represents as much as 60% of global fibre production (Morley, 2009) and can be recycled repeatedly without loss of quality if kept ‘pure’.

The research concluded that there is potential for ‘design for recycling’, enabled through a new set of technological processes, specifically ‘laser-welding.’ This new technique facilitates the production of complex and functional products that maintain their monomaterial credentials, which are essential if they are to be fully recyclable.

Official Website: http://www.lens.polimi.it
Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: sustainability, design, recycling, technology, cradle to cradle, monomaterial
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Research Centres No Longer Active > Textiles Futures Research Centre (TFRC)
Date: October 2010
Event Location: Bangalore, India
Projects or Series: Research Outputs Review (April 2010 - April 2011)
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2012 11:31
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2023 04:46
Item ID: 5088
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/5088

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